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Penticton  

Blue Man high-energy show

It's hard to describe what goes on during a Blue Man Group show, even for one of the blue fellows himself. 

"That's the big challenge, even for those of us who have been with the company for a long time. Our show is difficult to describe, which is frustrating when you're trying to get people to come and see it but it also speaks to how unique the show is," said Jonathan Clapham, known as Meridian in his blue persona. 

The Blue Man Group was formed over 30 years ago, and has since become a global phenomenon with touring shows and many cast members. Next week, they are touching down in Penticton for two shows only on April 23 and 24. 

The basics of the show are straightforward: Three men decked in blue skull masks and blue paint, and a four-piece band playing high-energy tribal rock. But that doesn't capture the whole picture. 

"It's a show in which we have lots of laughs, somehow created by a trio of characters who don't speak, and yet there's lots of comedy in the show," Clapham explained. "The character is human, but almost like a distilled human. It's the parts of us that we all share in common around the world: Our curiosity, our creativity, our desire to connect and play."

Clapham has been a Blue Man on and off since 2002, and he still has trouble putting his finger on what makes the show so appealing. 

"When people come to our show they can expect to have this really amazing experience of laughing a lot, feeling the energy from the band and feeling connected with the other audience members. It's just a really good time, that's really hard to explain," he said with a laugh. 

The fundamentals have remained the same throughout the decades, but the content of the show has definitely changed over the years, especially with technology as new things become available that they can incorporate. 

"We have these seven or eight foot tall iPads in the show, so as things like that work their way into popular society, we kind of find a way to play with it and reflect that in our show. So in that way it's constantly evolving," Clapham explained. 

As for the choice to create blue men to begin with, Clapham says the colour has many meanings. It takes him 45 minutes to get into makeup before the show, slathering on the signature hue so that it will last throughout the show. 

"The blue colour serves a bunch of different things, for one it's a colour that is really easy to connect with — the sky is blue, the ocean is blue, there's something sort of neutral yet welcoming about it," he said. 

The show opens with the three silent characters at the back of the stage, their alien colour evident. 

"People see that and they're like, 'Ok, there's three guys up there, but they're different, there's something other about them,'" Clapham, said. "And then throughout the hour and a half, we slowly bridge that distance. That's what all the comedy and music do to bring the audience on board and connect the audience."

It's an extremely high-energy show, but Clapham says he finds it leaves him energized rather than exhausted. He said despite his many years as a Blue Man, he never gets tired of the audience reaction. 

"You see it all the time, someone that's a bit skeptical at the beginning of the show," he said. "And you see the very same person at the end of the show with the brightest smile, and laughing, and dancing in the aisles, in spite of themselves. That's a really cool thing to experience and participate in."

The Blue Man Group will be on stage at the South Okanagan Events Centre April 23 and 24, and tickets range from $40 to $90. To purchase, head to the Valley First Box Office or click here



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